Childhood memories have always had an irreplaceable role in modern society — everything from books to movies to music trends allude to this time of innocence. Youth only comes once and carefree memories of childhood abound.
Coraline, based on the Neil Gaiman novel,
follows this tradition, documenting the adventures of a young girl who is disappointed with her detached parents and the monotonous world around her. After entering a mystifying door in her home, Coraline is whisked away to a fantasy world where she meets her
“Other Mother” and “Other Father,” cheerful button-eyed counterparts to her real parents. However, after spending time in this world, she slowly begins to realize it’s not the utopia she saw at first glance.
The plot is incredibly rich, packed full of wonderful storytelling and more twists than expected from a family movie. The characters are realistic, allowing them to empathize with Coraline as she faces all the adventures,
challenges and dreams of childhood, albeit in a more exaggerated form.
Notably, Coraline is a film of many distinctions, including the longest stop-motion film to date, and the first major instance of stop-motion. The film was shot in a mix of clay animation and CGI, and the resulting product is remarkably well polished, with a wonderful blend of classic stop motion and 3D. Whereas many 3D films go out of their way to present gimmicks, Coraline uses the medium surprisingly effectively, preferring to provide an overall 3D illusion, which winds up being more believable in the end.
The PG rating might turn some viewers away, hoping for a more mature film, but it’s no reason to discount this surprisingly dark family film. Coraline provides a warm welcome to the refreshing flashbacks of childhood, and will remain one of the best films of 2009.